Academic and Bar Success Initiatives

NYLS provides all students with a continuum of academic and bar support from their admission to law school through their admission to the bar. The School also helps students develop positive attitudes towards learning and identify, develop, and use the critical thinking skills necessary for the successful study of law, and practice of law, consistent with NYLS’s Student Competencies and Learning Outcomes.

Strategies for Academic and Bar Success

  • Collaboration with professors across the curriculum
  • Individual coaching and feedback for students
  • First-year and upper-level skills courses
  • Skills development workshops
  • Newsletters and other guidance and support materials

About Us


Paulina Davis, Esq., Assistant Dean for Academic Success

Paulina Davis portraitIn 2018, Paulina Davis joined NYLS as Assistant Dean for Academic Success to lead the design and implementation of strategies and programs to enhance student learning. In this role, Assistant Dean Davis oversees the First-Year Academic Success Program and supervises the program’s teaching fellows. In addition, Assistant Dean Davis co-teaches Foundations for the Study of Law and teaches the Teaching Fellow Seminar. Through collaboration with faculty and staff, Assistant Dean Davis helps NYLS ensure that its students are able to meet the demands of a rigorous law school curriculum and excel early in their legal careers.

Full biography

Cynara Hermes McQuillan, Esq. ’03, Assistant Dean for Bar Success

Cynara Hermes McQuillan, New York Law School, NYLS, Professor of LawCynara Hermes McQuillan ’03 returned to NYLS to teach Legal Practice in 2016. In 2018, Professor McQuillan was appointed as Assistant Dean for Bar Success. In this capacity, she leads the coordination of bar support programming and initiatives designed to prepare students for the bar admissions process, which begins as early as the second year of law school. In addition, she teaches a section of Introduction to the MBE/MPT. Through Professor McQuillan’s vision and leadership, NYLS is providing students with the information and support they need to navigate the bar admission requirements successfully in New York and other jurisdictions.

Full biography

Megan E.K. Montcalm, Esq., Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success Initiatives

Megan E.K. Montcalm, Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success InitiativesMegan E.K. Montcalm has joined NYLS in the newly created position of Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success Initiatives. In this role, Megan will assist with the design and delivery of academic and bar support programming intended to help students develop the critical skills they need to succeed in their coursework, pass the bar exam, and build satisfying legal careers.

Megan brings a wealth of real-world experience to her new role. Most recently, she served as Senior Counsel in the Appeals Division of the New York City Law Department, where she briefed and argued dozens of civil appeals on behalf of New York City, the Mayor, and local government agencies in federal and state appellate courts. Her caseload there reflected the tremendous breadth of the city government’s dealings and challenged her to think critically about a range of legal issues in civil rights, torts, employment, family, and administrative law. Megan was previously a senior associate in Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Commercial & Business Litigation Practice and a litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. While in private practice, she worked extensively on a series of interrelated international arbitrations and also represented clients in securities matters and other commercial disputes.

From 2010 to 2011, Megan served as law clerk for the Honorable Alvin K. Hellerstein on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. And from 2009 to 2010, she served as law clerk for the Honorable John M. Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Megan earned her J.D. with highest honors from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. Megan completed her undergraduate work in South Carolina and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan.

Administrative Staff

Darlene Young, Administrative Assistant for Academic and Bar Success Initiatives

Location and Hours

Academic and Bar Success Initiatives
Fifth Floor, E Building
212.431.2100 ext. 4757,

Academic Year: Monday–Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., Fridays 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Breaks and Summers: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and Fridays in July)